Showing posts with label America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label America. Show all posts

Preparing For Natural Disasters in the US

Living in Melbourne I am lucky enough to be pretty safe from most, if not all natural disasters. With the exception of bush fires in extreme heat, I don't live in a location that is threatened by tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes regularly in the way other people are. 


The Best of Hollywood & LA

The home of the rich and famous, LA is the ultimate place to celebrity spot and try and live like the famous do. The home to all the restaurants and cafes that gossip magazines regularly 'spot celebrities' as well as where many, many TV shows and movies are filmed, there really isn't more talent or fame in one single place anywhere else in the world! Here are some of my top ideas on how to spend your time in Hollywood and Los Angeles. 

The World Famous San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo is known as one of the best in the world. Located in Balboa Park, it is 100 acres in size and well known for it's lush, naturalistic habitat and unique animal encounters. With a massive variety of animals to see and countless animals experiences you can take part in, they really haven't missed out anything. We road tripped down to San Diego from LA for the day to visit the famous Zoo. I had heard such great things about it and I am a sucker for any kind of animal experience, so I couldn't wait to get there! 

Loews Hollywood Hotel Review

I can't speak highly enough about Loews Hollywood Hotel. It's honestly one of the most modern, luxurious and spacious hotels I have ever stayed in. We booked a Standard King room for our time in LA and it was just perfect. It looked exactly like the image above, with a massive king bed and widescreen TV, free wifi for the duration of our stay and a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign from our window! It was perfectly located, right off the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in the centre of Hollywood Boulevard, making getting around on foot extremely easy. 

Santa Monica & The California Coast

Where an amusement park meets the ocean, Santa Monica is simply paradise. With wide beaches, extending as far as you can see, waves breaking on the shore and an amusement park on the edge of the pier, what's not to love! We rented bikes for our day at the beach and rode from Santa Monica Pier down to Venice Beach and back again. It's such a good ride, and a really good way to experience life in Santa Monica! It was one of our last days in America before we made the 20 hour journey back home to Australia, and it was the perfect way to relax, unwind, and appreciate the great adventure we had just been on! 

The VIP Tour Of Warner Bros. Studios

One of the reasons I was the most excited to visit LA was to take a tour of Warner Bros. Studios. Home to many of my favourite TV shows, as well as countless hit movies, I couldn't wait to see where the magic happened! We took a VIP Tour of the studios which included: a walk through two different TV show soundstages (we got to walk through The Mentalist and Conan), driving through the backlots and exterior sets, a tour of the WB prop department, access to The Archive - which includes two floors of memorabilia including authentic props and costumes from the Batman and Harry Potter films, a tour of the Picture Car Vault - currently transformed in the Batcave, you can see all the incredible Batmobiles, and finally a visit to the infamous Friends set of Central Perk. 

A Very Unofficial Guide To Disneyland

The happiest place on Earth does not disappoint. Disneyland is truly one of the happiest places I have ever spent the day, with laughing kids, happy characters and smiling faces everywhere you look. We spent the whole day at the Disneyland complex, hopping back and forth between Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park. I think we arrived at about 9am and didn't leave until about 11pm! It was a massive full on day, and I can completely understand now why people buy a two or three day pass to see everything Disneyland has to offer! 

Here is my very unofficial guide to spending the day at Disneyland - purely based on how we spent our day. I honestly think every single person that spends the day at Disneyland would have a different experience, based on how many different attractions, worlds, rides and dining options exist in the park! If you're heading to Disneyland make sure you check out their website first to make a list of things you don't want to miss!

Flying Over The Grand Canyon

Las Vegas was my first time in a helicopter. I was so excited, not only was it my first time in a helicopter, but we were also going to fly over the Grand Canyon. There is endless beautiful scenery from a helicopter. The Grand Canyon stretches for miles and is nothing short of amazing. Next time I'm in USA I'm definitely renting a car and spending a few days in this beautiful area! 

We were picked up from our hotel and driven out to Boulder City Airport where our flight would depart. Flying with Papillon was a breeze, they made the whole situation so easy and exciting. We had a great pilot, who knew a lot about the Grand Canyon and the surrounding areas as well as Las Vegas. He had some fantastic stories to share about his flying experiences. The only thing getting in my way on this adventure was that I was still unwell. And unfortunately, the extremely small cabin of the helicopter, paired with my middle seat, really exaggerated my claustrophobia and motion sickness. So I spent most of the flight concentrating on being okay, and not concentrating on taking photos which I really regret. Although there aren't nearly enough, here is just a snapshot of the views of The Grand Canyon from the sky.

Ideas For Day Activities In Las Vegas

There is always so much going on in Vegas. While the Strip may look nice and peaceful, there are countless shows, parties and exhibits happening deep in those hotels! I really liked walking around Vegas because it let us stumble upon things we wouldn't have found otherwise. We came across a silent disco in a side alley, an amazing Japanese restaurant in the Venetian Hotel called Sushi Samba,and more showgirls than I could count. Las Vegas isn't just about the nightlife (although that is the main idea). Here are some ideas of day activities around the Strip.

A Guide To Las Vegas Hotels

The Las Vegas Strip. Three and a half miles long with endless entertainment, dining and adventure opportunities. Every hotel along the strip has something different to offer, and each hotel is almost like it's own little village. You could easily get lost just exploring your own hotel! But what fun is that, let's get out and explore all the hotels! There's a hotel on the strip for every type of budget. Here is a quick guide to some of the main hotels along the Las Vegas Strip (and my favourites) in no particular order. Above image by James Brandon.

The Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy

Every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip has it's secrets and in my opinion, The Mirage Hotel's is the best of them all! Deep in the hotel you can find Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat! A beautiful little oasis focused on scientific research, conservation and education. 

The Secret Garden includes a whole range of big cats  including white tigers, white lions, golden tigers, leopards, black panthers and regular lions. While we were in Vegas the Secret Garden also had a new family of baby white lions! They were so beautiful and playful, jumping around with each other and their trainer, who they seemed to absolutely love! As with all animal sanctuaries, different animals are display at different times of the day to give them a rest, so we didn't get to see them all. Good to keep in mind too that they're all big cats - which means they also sleep for most of the day!

MGM Grand Las Vegas Review

The only way to describe the MGM Grand is exceptional. Boasting a massive 5,044 guest rooms the MGM Grand is the largest hotel resort complex in the United States, and the second largest hotel in the world. WOW. No wonder it took us 10 minutes to walk from our hotel room to the street every morning! I mean, the MGM Grand is 30 floors high and includes five outdoor pools, rivers and waterfalls that cover 6.6 acres. WHAT? That is just crazy.

SBH Hotel Review, Miami Beach

South Beach Hotel (SBH) was in the perfect location for our time in Miami. It was only one block away from South Beach and a short walking distance from the main strip of restaurants, cafes and shops. In all honesty, my budget for Miami accommodation was quite low. We were only here for a few nights and didn't want to blow all our money on a place just to sleep. At $179 a night, SBH provided us a cheaper alternative to the beach front hotels, while still being in an awesome location!

We stayed in a Standard King room, which included one of the biggest beds I have ever slept in, as well as a massive flat screen TV, beautifully modern bathroom and more amenities than I could even think of! The room was so chic and modern, it was like we were sleeping in a work of art! I am quite disappointed now that I didn't take a photo of inside the room. it was honestly beautiful. 

The hotel had complimentary wifi which was so helpful and so speedy. Our room also included free local calls, which came in super handy as we kept extending our car hire! The staff were lovely and helpful, offering us tips on parking and driving around Miami and helping out when I accidentally deactivated our room key! We hadn't expected to have a car in Miami, so we hadn't booked accommodation with parking in mind. SBH does have valet parking, but like anywhere, valet is quite expensive. As an alternative, there is street parking right out the front of the hotel and in the surrounding streets which was handy. However it does have time restrictions and as the hotel staff warned us, there are parking inspectors around all the time! We ended up with two fines (one at 4am, who would have thought parking inspectors would be around at that time!), but luckily they were super cheap compared to Australian parking fines - only about $23 each. 

The only thing to keep in mind is that the complimentary breakfast and the pool are not located on the property - with breakfast being offered at a local cafe and pool access located on a sister property of SBH. Overall though, we were really happy with our stay at SBH. By far the most modern hotel I have ever stayed in! 

SBH South Beach Hotel
236 21st Street, Miami Beach 
Florida, 33139

South Beach, Miami

South Florida has to be one of the most humid places I have ever been. It felt like it was hotter than Mexico and Tropical North Queensland put together. It may have been because I was fighting off a horrible cold and had a raging temperature. Maybe. But I am willing to say that it was the tropical weather of Miami all on it's own. 

9 Exciting Florida Day Trips

There are so many different things to do around Florida! Known as The Sunshine State, Florida has nice sunny weather most of the year, and there is always something new to do! We didn't have much time to spend in Florida, only a few days and we were actually sick for half of the time, so I didn't get to load up our days with as many activities and tours as I normally would. But if you're looking for some new ideas for day trips around Florida, how about checking out some of these. You can find more information about most of these tours on Viator

Top Disney Orlando Resorts For Kids

You have to admit, Disney are the best at themed destinations. They have magically themed everything from hotels and resorts to cruise ships, restaurants and apparel,  and of course the theme parks themselves. In America you can find Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Orlando. Disneyworld Orlando is almost like a suburb all of it's own, spreading for miles and including their own roads, hotels and lakes. You could easily spend days here getting lost in the wonderful world of Disney. If you're visiting Orlando with little kids here are some of the best themed hotels to excite the kids and complete your Disney experience.

Top 10 Harry Potter Experiences

There are so many things to do at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You could easily spend your whole day wondering between Diagon Alley and Hogsmede and forget about the rest of Universal Studios! I am a massive Harry Potter fan and I absolutely fell in love with this part of Universal! Sorry to go all nerdy on you during this post, but fellow Harry Potter lovers will totally understand how I felt! To make the most out of your short time in this wonderland you want to try these out:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Huge. I have read all the books, watched all the movies, and when I heard about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios I re-routed our whole USA trip to make sure there was a stop in Orlando. And boy was it worth it. 

Greetings From Springfield

Half way across the United States we found Springfield. Yes, the home to the Simpsons family and all of their wonderful cartoon glory. I'm not going to lie, one of my main reasons for visiting Universal Studios and making the trek all the way to Orlando was visiting Springfield. 

Let's Hear It For New York

I took thousands of photos in NYC. There are so many different things to see and do in New York and there's always something different and interesting happening around you. Here are some of my photos that from around the city. Above is the New York Public Library. Lots of these pictures were taken on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts how much I love these tours, you get to see the city from a different perspective, as well as learn a lot about the history of the city you're visiting. The NYC bus is especially great because it's a really convenient way to get around the city and it's much cheaper than taxis! Stops for the Downtown tour include Times Square, the Empire State Building, the United Nations, South Street Seaport, Financial District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, Site of the World Trade Centre, Battery Park and Wall Street. We bought our tickets from someone on the street, who gave us a 6 day pass for the Downtown and Uptown Tour, plus a bonus Brooklyn Tour and Boat tour. Definitely worth it!
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